Saturday, January 30, 2010

Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs

When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder, its up to shape-shifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life — whether she wants to or not.

In a world where "witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist), it takes a very unusual woman to call it home. By day, Mercy Thompson is a car mechanic in Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shape-shifter with some unusual talents, Mercy's found herself maintaining a tenuous harmony between the human and the not-so-human on more than one occasion. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

I continue to love Mercy Thompson. I read both Iron Kissed and its follow up, Bone Crossed, today so the two stories have merged in my mind as one big long Mercy adventure. Iron Kissed had a sad plot twist for Mercy that I did not appreciate but it was handled as well as it could be.

I love that Mercy finally chose which werewolf she wanted to be with and I especially appreciate that she picked who I thought she should (Team Adam for the win!). I also love that Mercy drinks hot chocolate in moments of stress and goes to church every Sunday. Mercy is just one of those characters who you want to be friends with.

Now I am sad that I have to wait to read the next installment after getting to read all 4 in one week. And I have to keep my fingers crossed that Mercy and Adam remain firmly in love (I had a momentary New Moon induced panic attack when I thought Mercy was going to hurt Adam by leaving him to "protect him". Thankfully Patricia Briggs didn't toy with me like Edward). I also want Mercy & Adam to have coyote-wolf babies. So I'll be busy holding my breath for that to happen ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blood Bound, Patricia Briggs

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him...

This book is as equally entertaining and awesome as the first Mercy Thompson story. I was happy to see the love triangle continue and I am leaning toward Team Adam. I also loved that Stefan had a bigger role in this story. I really like his character and his relationship with Mercy. This story was much creepier and scarier but not too much for my wimpy self. It is killing me not to google who Mercy picks in the end, Samuel or Adam. I'm trying to stay disciplined and just keep reading without peeking. But I will be mad if things don't go the way I think they should!

Moon Called, Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson's sexy next door neighbor is a werewolf.
She's tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong a vampire.
But then Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

I am now officially in thrall to Patricia Briggs. And I've realized it happened just like how kids get hooked on drugs. Seriously. At first they resist and think drugs are bad even though they are curious (that was me when I read Cry Wolf). Then they decide they don't really like drugs but they definitely need more. Just a little more they tell themselves (me reading Hunting Ground). And finally they admit they love it and must have it (me reading Alpha & Omega). So I will admit I am totally into Patricia Briggs' writing but I am still slightly mortified to be seen buying the books thanks to the horrifying cover art and I definitely have been keeping their tackiness out of view from my family. Which is probably how I would feel if I was on drugs... hmmm. It's like my dirty little secret.

But I do love Mercy Thompson! I loved reading this book. I can't decide if I like Mercy or Anna better but I love how the characters overlap between the two series. I love that Mercy is tough but also shows emotion. She's not above bursting into tears which I can relate to. I hate when these types of characters are written as these emotionless, automaton, superhero types who need men like fish need bicycles. Mercy is believable. She saves the day quite a bit but is also busy trying to decide which hunky werewolf to choose. I loved it!

And now on to my biggest issue (really my only issue). I despise the cover art for this book and for all of the following Mercy Thompson stories. If these books had better and more appropriate cover art I wouldn't have to skulk through the bookstore and sandwich them in between my other purchases. I truly hate these pictures. So much that I am refusing to post them on my blog that 1 person reads. If you want to be creeped out come find the books on my shelf, Nora. I've posted the UK cover which I don't love but I also don't feel shamed by. The cover art doesn't even match the description of Mercy in the books which is irritating. As far as I have read Mercy has one tattoo... not a bajillion. I also don't get the vibe that she walks around mostly naked... but maybe I am just a prude.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fish Out of Water, Mary Janice Davidson

Fred the mermaid has taken the bait and chosen Artur, High Prince of the Black Sea, over human marine biologist Thomas. The existance of the Undersea Folk is no longer a secret, and someone needs to keep them from floundering in the media spotlight. Fred has all the right skills for the job, but not for when her real father surfaces and his presence complicates matters even more.

As civil war threatens to sink the merfolk, Fred can't stop thinking about the landlubber she left behind...

I really have enjoyed the extreme fluffiness of these Fred the mermaid books. And as much as I like them I'm kind of glad that the author gave Fred a real ending in this third and final book. It seems like some of these series go on and on with no need. I like that this one wraps things up. And I really love who Fred ends up with! Which is why I wouldn't be upset if Mary Janice Davidson ever wrote another Fred story, providing Fred & her marine biologist get to be happy together. Otherwise I'm fine with no more stories. Although it would be hilarious to read about Jonas planning Fred's wedding. So maybe I do want another installment. And I really think I might need to order the UK covers.

At any rate here is, perhaps, the most awesome part of The Little Mermaid in honor of Fred. I was reminiscing with Nora about how I distinctly remember as a kid thinking that I was watching something profoundly beautiful and serious when Ariel rises up on that sea rock and the waves crash behind her... deep stuff:

Swimming Without a Net, Mary Janice Davidson

It's not normal for a mermaid to hate being out in open water, but Fred never claimed to be normal. To visit the undersea realm of Artur, the High Prince, and the rest of the royal merfamily, she has to fin it to the Cayman Islands. Luckily, hunky marine biologist Thonas is along for the swim - in his custom-made underwater RV. He'll be able to explore where no "outlander" has gone before and give Fred a place to escape to when the Undersea Folk start getting on her nerves.

But as Fred tries to fit in with her own kind, she finds herself hooked on both Artur and Thomas, and caught between two factions of merfolk: those happy with swimming under the radar - and those who want to bring their existence to the surface...

This was another cute, light book about Fred the mermaid and her appealing love triangle with a marine biologist and a merman prince. The writing is funny and quick to read and the story is suspenseful but not stressful. And once again I am jealous of the UK covers. So much prettier. Perfect bathtub reading which leads to this:

Lead Me On, Victoria Dahl

Primal attraction is a big red flag to prim and proper office manager, Jane Morgan. After a rough childhood with a mother who liked her men in prison jumpsuit orange, Jane changed her name, her look and her taste for bad boys. So why is she lusting for William Chase with his tattoo-covered biceps, steel-toed boots and unadulterated sex appeal? The man blows things up for a living!

She gives herself one explosive, fantasy-filled night with Chase. The next day, it’s back to plain Jane and safe men.But when her beloved brother becomes a murder suspect, and her lawyer ex-boyfriend won’t help, Jane turns to Chase. And she discovers a man who’s been around the block knows a thing or two about uncovering all kinds of truths.

I bought this in yet another January depression fueled spree over the weekend and have to say I was disappointed with it. I didn't realize that it was one of those romance novels. The kind where you turn what feels like 10 pages and the characters are still infornicato. I liked the main character, Jane, but this just isn't the type of book for me. Also the cover is cute.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sleeping with the Fishes, Mary Janice Davidson

Fred is a mermaid. But stop right there. Whatever image you're thinking of right now, forget it. Fred is not blonde. She's not buxom. And she's definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn't help matters that her hair is ocean colored.
Being a mermaid does help Fred when she works at the New England Aquarium. But, needless to say, it's there that she gets involved in something fishy. Weird levels of toxins have been found in the local water. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her mer-person ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You'd think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again...

I've always had more than a passing interest in mermaids. Most likely fostered by repeated (and embarrassingly heart felt) singalongs of this as a child:


And then there's the painfully awesome stage version of this put on by some local 4-6 year olds that I alternated giggling and getting misty eyed through: "You. Will. Not. Be. A. Pawt. Of. His. Wolwd. Awiel!"

Finally, having my hilariously-mermaid (and merman)-obsessed kindergarten student a few years back solidified the fondness in my heart for mermaids.

So when I saw this book I thought I should give it a try in spite of the ridiculous cover art. The prettier cover on the left is from the UK, of course. I do like the glittery tail on the US cover but the rest of it is icky.

As are some parts of the story. It is a little too vulgar in a few spots for my taste but overall I did enjoy this fluffy story. It was pretty funny and I liked the love triangle that closes the story. This is definitely a silly book but it was very relaxing for me after another week of bad-seed-children-induced-depression. I'm glad the library has the other two books in this series.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Emily of Deep Valley, Maud Hart Lovelace

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can't leave her grandfather.

Emily resigns herself to facing a "lost winter," but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

I read and loved the Betsy-Tacy books as a child but somehow I never read any of Maud Hart Lovelace's other books. I cannot believe I was missing out on this book! Because it is really good. Like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and Little House in the Big Woods good. I read it last night and lost track of the number of times I started crying while reading. And I mean the good kind of crying. This is also one of those times I wish I was better with words so I could convey how much I love this book.
So let me just say I agree with everything Melissa Wiley has written about it:

"Maud Hart Lovelace’s most beautiful novel, Emily of Deep Valley, takes place in the same Minnesota village as the Betsy-Tacy books, and indeed Betsy makes a cameo appearance...

If you haven’t read this book, oh what a treat you are in for. Emily is the kind of character we don’t often see in these days of “you have to do what’s right for you.” What seems “right” for Emily, devoted scholar, is a college education like the rest of her high-school chums. But she lives with a very elderly grandfather, and somehow, somehow, she can’t bring herself to leave him alone. That, her conscience whispers, wouldn’t be right.

Sometimes, you see, “right for you” isn’t the same as just plain Right.

Doing the real right thing, Emily finds, is often the hardest thing. She also finds out that the Right Thing can be like a doorway, and when you step through it, you find beauty on the other side, beauty in places you never knew existed.

That’s why I have a stack of Emily of Deep Valley tucked away for my children. She mustn’t disappear, this strong and gentle young woman who understands that love means sacrifice and cheerfulness, and the kind of love that cheerfully sacrifices blesses the giver a hundredfold. I can’t think of a finer role model for my young brood—not even Betsy or Anne or Laura."

After reading that I was relieved to see the library had a copy of Emily for me to read. Here are some favorite parts and coincidentally parts that made me start to sniffle (and the last one made me giggle):

"You always did do what you could," Emily said affectionately. "Well! I'd better get to work." (p.28)

"Emmy," he said, "oughtn't I to give you a graduation present?" (p.40)

"Now, I'm not going to let this get me down. I'm not made that way. Thank God, I have a backbone, and a good stiff one, too..." (p.97)

"Muster your wits: stand in your own defense." (p.128)

"I'm going to fill my winter and I'm going to fill it with something worth while," she resolved. "I'm not going to neglect Grandpa either." (p.129)

"Emmy," he asked. "Is Jed courting you?"....

"Well," he answered defiantly, "it looks that way to me. It's flowers, flowers, flowers! And candy, candy, candy! And books! And shows! And a picture of Abraham Lincoln for me, although he's a rebel and he admits it. By Jingo, I know courting when I see it! I went courting once myself." (p.278-279)

There is so much to love in this book: Emily's picking herself up and dealing with the life she has been given, how real the descriptions of feeling left out & different are, Grandpa!, Jed!, and most particularly this encounter between Emily & Don that made me want to give her a high five for kicking an arrogant jerk to the curb:

"I suppose you think that I'm a cad."

"I just don't think about you. Good-by," Emily said, and closed the door firmly behind him." (p.277)

For a girl who spent so much time thinking about someone who didn't deserve her in the slightest that is the perfect response. I loved picturing a heavy door slamming in Don's face even though I know Emily would never be so rude. I also loved Emily realizing this:

"Don! That spoiled child! Jed was a man. Someone to respect, to look up to. Big and warm and protective and loving." (p.289)
I could keep going. I also love Betsy's appearance and her advice to Emily about getting to know yourself outside of your crowd of friends; finding out who you are on your own. Mostly I loved how I felt when I finished reading the book. And all throughout the day when I felt myself getting annoyed with my current life situation (by which I mean a classroom full of babies & brats) Emily was popping into my mind and reminding me to "muster my wits". Her attitude makes me think of Ovid:

"The burden which is well borne becomes light."
I can't wait to reread this book. I need my own copy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hunting Ground, Patricia Briggs

Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son -and enforcer -of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles's reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer -or Charles will take the fall.
So I have gone back and forth in my feelings about this series and now I have swung back around to liking it. Last night I kept waking up feeling like crap (which might just be symptomatic of not wanting to go back to school after the 3 day weekend) and I eventually picked this book up. And I ended up liking it more than everything else in this series thus far.

This book had a huge focus on the relationship between Anna & Charles which is all I really care about in the first place so I enjoyed reading it. It was perfect middle of the night distraction reading. Now I just need to come to peace with being the kind of girl who is into these kind of books- or these books need to get better cover art and I won't have to feel silly about them.

The only bummer is that the next book comes out in Fall 2011! That is way too far away and it sets me down a depressing train of thought: what if I am in exactly the same life situation in 2011 needing to self-sooth in the middle of the night with werewolf stories. If I am going to be in a bad mood reading werewolf stories in 2011 I at least need to be a lot blonder, thinner, and/or richer. How's that for shallow? Or maybe I just won't be in a bad mood anymore.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cooking Up Murder, Miranda Bliss

Annie and Eve are life-long best friends who have absolutely nothing in common-except a lack of skill in the kitchen. So when they sign up for a cooking class at the local gourmet shop, they figure the only things at risk are a few innocent fruits and vegetables. But on the first night, Annie and Eve see their fellow student Beyla arguing with a man-a man who later turns up dead in the parking lot. Now the friends feel bound to uncover whatever secrets she's hiding, before someone else's goose-perhaps one of their own-gets cooked.

I seem to go through phases of reading only one genre for a time and then moving on to a completely different genre. Which explains the massive quantity of YA books that I read in 2009 and the teeny tiny amount of mysteries that I ended up reading (or really anything else). If I had been recording my reading for 2008 it would have shown a massive quantity of mysteries; specifically cozy ones. So I'm going to try to be more balanced in my reading this year. Which brings me to Cooking Up Murder.

I loved reading this story. Annie is such a likable and relatable character. I love her best friend Eve and her Scottish cooking instructor, Jim, was appropriately dreamy. It was a very entertaining story and reminded me why I love these cozy mystery series in the first place. In a way they give me the same de-stressing expereince that the Simon Romantic Comedies do. Which is high praise from me.

Thankfully I have already bought the other books in this series so I can keep reading through my don't-want-to-go-back-to-school-depression this week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

King Lear: a Guide, Alistair McCallum

I saw this guide book at the library and grabbed it not knowing anything about it. I have been disappointed in these types of books before so I was so pleasantly surprised that this one turned out to be helpful. I want to buy my own copy and definitely track down any other handbooks in the series.

I liked the helpful summaries of each scene with selected quotes from other commentaries. That led me to wanting to track down the books that were cited. Here are the quotes I found helpful:

"Thus the tragic chain of events is set in motion; the two fathers have renounced the children who love them, and elected to trust the children who will betray them. Each has repudiated the natural bond and, horribly erring, cited 'nature' herself as the authority for his action."
-John Wain, The Living World of Shakespeare, 1964

"For many of us today, King Lear seems the uttermost reach of Shakespeare's achievement. As compared with Hamlet, the nineteenth century's favorite, King Lear speaks of a world more problematical... King Lear's world, like our century, is larger, looser, cruder, crueller."
-Maynard Mack, Everybody's Shakespeare, 1993

"... as any socio-biologist knows, nature is not constructed solely of egotism. The survival of a species depends also upon altruism exercised within the group, generally by parents in favour of their young, but also by individuals in favour of the group. Albany recoils from the savage ethos in which his wife lives, foreseeing both her own destruction and that of the universe itself as a consequence of unbridled self-interest."
-Germaine Greer, Shakespeare, 1986

"Cordelia's tenderness is rooted in the same strength that enabled her to reject Lear's misconceived demands... Her love is of a kind that, confronted with a real demand, does not bargain or make conditions; it is freely given, and it represents an absolute of human experience that can stand against the full shock of disillusion."
-L. C. Knights, King Lear and the Great Tragedies, 1955

"The old Lear died in the storm, The new Lear is born in the scene in which he is reunited with Cordelia. His madness marked the end of the willful, egotistical monarch. He is resurrected as a fully human being... the awakening into life is a painful process."
-Kenneth Muir, Introduction to the Arden Shakespeare edition of King Lear, 1972

"Just as the reconciliation of Lear and Cordelia is one of the most moving moments in English drama, Cordelia's death is surely one of the saddest."
-Alistair McCallum

"Shakespeare did not assemble all the varied materials of this mighty play to leave us, at the end, with a capsule of facile pessimism. In this story of a great offence, expiated by a great suffering, we end at higher point than we began."
-John Wain, The Living World of Shakespeare, 1964

King Lear, William Shakespeare

I had never read King Lear before and had only a rudimentary knowledge of the plot. And, wow it is really depressing! I used the Alistair McCallum Shakespeare Handbook while reading which was helpful. Edmund, Regan, & Goneril are quite the horrible villains. Even though I knew I was reading a tragedy I still couldn't help but be shocked by the bleak ending, especially for Cordelia. I think part of my shock stemmed from the fact that I really didn't know how this play ended before I read it unlike Romeo & Juliet or MacBeth or Hamlet; plays that I can't remember not knowing the endings to. Now I want to watch Ian McKellen's King Lear.


I cannot heave my heart into my mouth (I.1.80)

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poor,
Most choice forsaken, and most loved despised,
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon.
Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.
Gods, gods! 'Tis strange that from their cold'st neglect
My love should kindle to inflamed respect...
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind;
Thou losest here, a better where to find. (I.1.239-250)

the bond cracked between son and father (I.2.107)

I should have been that I am had the maidenliest star of
the firmament twinkled on my bastardy. (I.2.125)

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child. (I.4.283)

Thou shouldst not have been old before thou hadst been wise. (I.5.43)

the child was bound to the father (II.1.47)

my old heart is cracked, is cracked (II.1.89)

I'll so carbonado your shanks (II.2.34)

elf all my hair with knots (II.3.10)

unnatural hags (II.4.255)

Blow wind, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow,
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched the steeples, drowned the cocks! (III.2.1-3)

I am a man more sinned against than sinning. (III.2.60)

that way madness lies (III.4.20)

I had a son...
I loved him, friend;
No father his son dearer (III.4. 156-159)

As flies are to th'wanton boys are we to th'gods:
They kill us for their sport. (IV.1.34)

No more, the text is foolish (IV.2.37)

Thou knowest the first time that we smell the air,
We wail and cry...
When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools (IV.5.169-173)

Come, let's away to prison.
We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness; so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies (V.3.8-13)

Ironside, Holly Black

"In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing -- her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth -- that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears."

I skipped reading Valiant right after Tithe because I needed to know if Roiben & Kaye get to have a happy ending. I liked reading Ironside but there was too little Roiben/Kaye interaction for my taste even though it was the kind of interaction I approve of which was heartening.

I also felt like the fairy mythology got convoluted and confusing at times. It might just be me but there seemed to be several loose plot threads left at the end of the book. It was definitely an entertaining story to read but not one I would recommend to any of my younger friends since it is not without its earthy moments. Because Valiant is a companion book set in the same world as Tithe & Ironside but not a sequel I don't feel as excited to read it. I'm sure I'll get around to it but in the end I like reading these types of the stories for the romance which doesn't seem to be a big part of Valiant.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tithe, Holly Black

"Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms- a struggle that could very well mean her death."

I liked this book a lot. Enough to venture out to the bookstore instead of staying in my pajamas for the entire day like I had planned to so I could buy the next two books. But I didn't love it. This part of the Amazon review I completely agree with and sums why I didn't love it:

"The book has its faults: it slips into shock-value mode; the descriptions are often overwritten (sunset on the water looks like the sun slit his wrists in a bathtub); the language is overly, unnecessarily explicit; and the writing often unpolished. Still, the story's pull is undeniable, and readers under its spell will be hard-pressed to put the book down."

In spite of that I really liked the romance between Kaye and Roiben a lot and I am excited to keep reading.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life as We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer

"Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world."

I was really impressed with this book. I don't think I can say anything better than the Book Smugglers did here:

"Miranda’s voice is incredibly clear and honest, allowing a glimpse into a teenage girl whose life has been stripped from her before she even got a chance to live it. The first person point of view is flawless, allowing readers to feel Miranda’s frustration and anger, her resignation, and ultimately the strength of the love she has for her family. I don’t think I have ever read a teenage heroine that comes across as genuinely as Miranda does–her forced growth and maturation is shocking."

A couple of the reviews I've read mention disbelief that Miranda's mom would think to stockpile canned goods, chop firewood all summer, etc. I think being raised in a religion that puts an emphasis on emergency preparedness made that aspect of the story pretty believable to me. I am no survival expert but just having a basic awareness of the topic would get you started in the right direction. And clearly Miranda's mom was quite an enterprising person to begin with.

This book also made me think of a very creepy book that floated around my childhood about the "end of the world" by a self-appointed Mormon Nostradamus type. Seriously, looking back I cannot believe that everyone I know had the book in their house and that it was sold at Deseret Book in the first place. Because the author was clearly insane and clearly the world is still spinning at this point.

Reading Life As We Knew It also made me think about the whole concept of teenagehood. I've always been interested in the "invention of teenagers"; the idea that all the trappings of modern life created a new and false extended childhood. It was interesting to see Miranda's friend Sammi leave with a 40 something year old man as a 17 year old girl and no one bat an eye. That age difference and situation would have been completely normal in the 19th century. Leaving school early along with how hard Miranda and her brothers had to physically work to keep their family going were other instances of the reality of life for teenagers without the benefits of technology and industrialization. Without those benefits there was no leisure time, no dating, etc. They had to immediately embrace adult responsibilities. And I know I've seen a social history on this topic somewhere. I'll have to investigate.

I cannot wait for This World We Live In to come out in March. I think I'm going to save The Dead and the Gone to read right before it comes out so I don't have to live in suspense. This was one of my favorite lines from Life as We Knew It:

"I wondered, and I think we all did, if this would be our last New Year's.

Do people ever realize how precious life is? I know I never did before. There was always time. There was always a future.

Maybe because I don't know anymore if there is a future, I'm grateful for the good things that have happened to me this year.

I never knew I could love as deeply as I do. I never knew I could be so willing to sacrifice things for other people." (p.287)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bite Me!, Melissa Francis

"AJ Ashe isn't your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing! She's stuck in the middle of a huge fight between her two BFFs. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she's still totally in love with, by the way—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. What ever happened to the good old days, when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood?"
This book was so cute! It was a great relaxing and entertaining book to read in the midst of my January doldrums. I love stories like this that are suspenseful and funny but also just really light and non-stressful.

My only quibble is that at the moment in the story when everyone was conspiring against the main character her formerly supportive mom turned on her too. That was the only false note to me. I know because I have a supportive mom and she would never believe that I cheated on a test, had an affair with a teacher, and did several other things I cannot even remember at this point if I told her I hadn't done it. I was tired when I read this so I can't remember all the details.

This book was also worth reading for this: "I think if I could just Hulk Smash her one time, I'd be able to move on." (p.152) That made me think of Nora who is always threatening to "hulk out".
I'm looking forward to reading the sequel!

Alpha & Omega, Patricia Briggs

"The werewolf Anna finds a new sense of self when the son of the werewolf king comes to town to quell unrest in the Chicago pack- and inspires a power in Anna that she's never felt before."
I really have some issues with this book cover (and really this whole genre as I realized when reading Bitten but that's another topic). I don't get why these books that are marketed to women are given seductive ladies splashed across the covers. You'd think they would go the way of the traditional Fabio romance cover art but with a hunky Native American werewolf instead. And that's another thing why are the werewolves in these books all Native Americans?

When I read Cry Wolf I always felt like there were some pieces of the story missing even though it is the first book in the series. Then I figured out that the story started in this short story in this random anthology. And I liked the start of the story much better than the middle parts I got to read in Cry Wolf. It's weird to me that the publishers wouldn't have included the short story in Cry Wolf or had the author smoosh them together. Or at least made it clear that you will be missing some details if you don't track down this other short story. I found it irritating that it was so hard to figure out where to start reading.

After all that I did like reading the beginning of Anna & Charles's story. It's silly and not entirely my thing but it piqued my interest enough to have me considering reading the second book. We shall see. I do have an exceedingly high tolerance for reading silly books.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bitten, Kelley Armstrong

"Elena Michaels is the world's only female werewolf. And she's tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her— her temper, her violence—but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she's growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she's trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she'll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really."

So I really, really like Kelley Armstrong's YA series, The Darkest Powers. Like really embarassingly like them. I reread them a lot last year and I have a teensy bit of a book crush on Derek the werewolf. So I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out this spring. In the mean time I thought I would try out one of Kelley's books for grownups that she wrote before she started the YA series.

Bitten reminds me of Cry Wolf. They seem to be in the same genre of sci-fi/supernatural romance/adventure that come with covers that embarrass me and that I haven't really read much of. Just as I am fully aware that not everyone can love and adore YA or chicklit fluff or cozy mysteries like I do, I'm realizing that this genre might just not be a good fit for me. So it's not that I think Bitten or Cry Wolf for that matter are poorly written or lame books. I just don't think I'm into this sort of thing.

For various reasons, I had a hard time finishing this book but I did start to enjoy it more in the last 30 pages or so when the romance picked up. Basically I like every story better when there is romance involved so that makes sense. The parts describing Clay researching Christmas to give Elena a perfect holiday were pretty cute. I am also a big wuss so I had to skim the parts describing the creepy criminal werewolves (really gross!) and there are several smutty passages of werewolf love included that were a little earthy to my mind.

Mostly reading the book made me wish I was reading The Summoning or The Awakening or even better, The Reckoning!

Close Kin, Clare Dunkle

“Goblins are just a tale to frighten children.”

Emily might have believed this once, but she knows better now. For years she has been living happily in the underground goblin kingdom. Now Emily is old enough to marry, but when her childhood friend Seylin proposes, she doesn’t take him seriously.

Devastated, Seylin leaves the kingdom, intent on finding his own people: the elves. Too late, Emily realizes what Seylin means to her and sets out in search of him. But her quest, like Seylin’s own journey, is really a plot devised by the cunning goblin King, who has his own reason to hunt for elves. As Emily and Seylin come closer to their goals, they bring two worlds onto a collision course, awakening hatreds and prejudices that have slumbered for hundreds of years.

In this sequel to The Hollow Kingdom, Clare Dunkle draws readers deeper into the magical world that Lloyd Alexander, winner of the Newbery Medal, calls “as persuasive as it is remarkable.”
I was really excited to read this book after loving The Hollow Kingdom so much. Then I realized that the story shifts to focus on characters other than Marak and Kate. I almost always hate when series do this. Clearly, I like the characters in the first book and that's why I want to read more about them. So this made me pretty apprehensive about reading this one.

Happily this book did not let me down. I found that I was just as happy to read about Emily and Seylin as I was to read about Kate and Marak. It does help that Kate and Marak both have parts to play in this story but I think mostly it is due to the fascinating world Clare Dunkle has created. That is consistent between both books so that even though I was reading about different characters I still felt like I was in the same familiar place. It is really rare for me to find that I like both books in a series equally but in this case I do. Close Kin was really great! Hopefully, I will love the last book just as much.

My only minor quibble and it's not really even a quibble is that the focus on the fear of pregnancy and childbirth with its related plot thread about Sable and her sad, abused life was pretty icky. Not inappropriate for kids icky just the kind of icky that probably would have upset me when I was 12, which thankfully I am not!

The Hollow Kingdom, Clare Dunkle

"Hallow Hill has a strange and tragic history. For thousands of years, young women have been vanishing from the estate, never to be seen again. Now Kate and Emily have come to live at Hallow Hill. Brought up in a civilized age, they have no idea of the land’s dreadful heritage. Until, that is, Marak decides to tell them himself.

Intelligent, pleasant, and completely pitiless, Marak is a powerful magician who claims to be a King—and he has very specific plans for the two new girls who have trespassed into his kingdom.
I was instantly sucked into this book in a really good way. Clare Dunkle is amazing. The plot is suspenseful and clever with the right tough of romance. I love all of the references to mythology that are involved in the world of Hallow Hill. I also appreciate that this book is really entertaining but also completely appropriate for younger readers. There is a compelling story but no inappropriate squickiness. I read this in one sitting over the weekend and immediately read the second volume.

This series is nothing like the Queen's Thief series in terms of the characters and storyline but I am reminded of that series in a really good way because of the high quality writing in both series. I love finding new books that live up to my expectations/unrealistic hype.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, Kate Brian

Boys. 7 of them, to be exact.

Megan is used to moving from place to place -- it's typical for an army brat. But she drew the line at South Korea. She insists on staying in the States to finish her last two years of high school. So her parents made arrangements for Megan to live with their friends, the McGowans...and the McGowans' 7 sons.

Turns out, living with 7 boys might as well be a foreign country! The boys are messy. They are cliquey (who knew?). And worst of all, two of the oldest boys are H-O-T. (A problem considering they are supposed to be Megan's "brothers.") Megan is definitely in enemy territory. She needs to win over the boys' hearts without totally crushing her own.

And when Megan starts falling for one of them, sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning....

What is a girl to do?

This book was so cute! I went in with appropriately low expectations and was so pleasantly surprised to be reading fluff of the highest quality. I consider myself to be a teen fluff connoisseur and this book definitely met my standards.

It fulfilled all my fluff requirements: likable main girl, plethora of cute boys, & a plot with a non-stressful amount of romantic tension & escapism followed by a happy ending. All these elements combined to help me forget my horrifying week back in first grade hell. I might be purchasing this one for further de-stressing purposes.

And I've got my fingers crossed for a sequel!

Cry Wolf, Patricia Briggs

"Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate."

This book was kind of a let down for me. I have never read any of this genre of supernatural/fantasy/romance with glowing cover art before but I read some reviews that made me think I would be into this kind of thing. I also was excited because I love finding new series to read and this author is quite prolific.

This book cover did make me feel a little bit like the kids Sue Sylvester was thinking of when she described: "invisibles and the kids playing live-action-druids-and-troll-out-in-the-forest — bottom floor.” That is who I have always judgmentally imagined read books with covers like this one.

I enjoyed reading the first half of the book but then I just got a little bogged down and disinterested in the wolf pack politics. I also was really only interested in the romance plot line between Anna and Charles so I definitely tuned out for the rest of the drama. I'm kind of bummed because I had already checked out the next book and now I don't even want to read it. It's not that it was so bad I just feel very neutral towards the story.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two Way Street, Lauren Barnholdt

"This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation. Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet. It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care. But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot. Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other."

I really enjoyed this story. I've made a new blog category for it, angstfluff, to describe it. And it really reminded me of the highest quality Laguna Beach episodes. I mean that in a complimentary way, of course, seeing as I loved that show. This story also wins points from me for having a happy ending where the pretty teenagers resolve their drama and get to go blissfully off to college together.

Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson

Another New York Times bestseller from Laurie Halse Anderson! High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy— and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in school, in his family, and in the world.

"I scared myself, because once you've thought long and hard enough about doing something that is colossally stupid, you feel like you've actually done it, and then you're never quite sure what your limits are." (p.95)

One time I woke up after a freakishly realistic dream convinced that I had murdered someone. I spent a good 15 minutes or so in a groggy stupor trying to remember who I had killed. That's really irrelevant to this book except that this quote reminded me of that. That creepy feeling that you have done something very, very wrong.

On to Twisted where my hero worship of Laurie Halse Anderson continues. I'm running out of superlatives to describe her writing. I think Speak and Wintergirls will outrank this one for me if only because I personally relate more to the issues explored in those books and to the female narrators. Twisted is realistic, heartbreakingly sad, and so well done.

I loved the scenes with Tyler and Hannah like this one:

"It has been a long time, but we both knew the routine. I pulled out the sleeping bag from the top shelf of my closet. Hannah crawled into my bed. She had her old Raggedy Ann with her. That's the kind of thing brothers don't tell about sisters. I tucked the covers under her chin." (p.152)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Wedding Girl, Madeleine Wickham

"At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Now, ten years later, she is a very different person. Engaged to a man who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect, she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. But one small episode form the past has the power to completely derail her carefully planned nuptials. Milly has locked away this history so securely that she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist- until, with only four days to go, her secret catches up with her.... And when "I do" gives you deja vu, it could be a problem."

I bought this based on the pretty cover and having previously enjoyed the Shopoholic books back when I was a student teacher a million years ago. I don't really get the whole Sophie Kinsella-Madeleine Wickham alter ego thing. To me, her writing is still pretty much the same whichever name is on the cover. This was enjoyable, average, chick lit.

I had two issues with the book. Issue #1 is that I felt the born again Christian characters in the book were completely one-dimensional and fake. They were what "enlightened" secular people imagine religious people to be: hateful & spiteful. That really irritated me but fortunately that wasn't a huge theme of the book.

Issue #2 is that based on the sparkley cover art (in real life the mirror does sparkle) I was expecting a happy, silly story with a mild amount of conflict. But I felt like I was reading the gay version of Beaches which I was not prepared for. Only sadder because the Bette Midler boy wasn't there to hold the Barbara Hershey boy's hand and sing to him at the end. I don't read chick lit to cry and feel totally down on life. So the Rupert-Allan story line? Not my idea of an acceptable plot line. I couldn't handle the letter, Rupert sitting in the art museum crying, & especially the last paragraphs of the book. Way too sad!

Other than those two issues I liked reading this book. I always like reading S.K./M.W.'s books for the UK setting. Now I want to investigate what a "bleeper" is. Remote control? Pager? I'm not sure.

I also loved the conversation Simon and Milly have at the very end of the book when Milly confesses her "low-brow" tastes. That made me laugh. The storylines with Harry & Isobel and James & Olivia were also really sweet. It reminded me at times of Maeve Binchy with all the intertwined relationships being revealed at the end of the story. Which reminded me that I love Maeve Binchy and should reread some of her books this year.

Just Listen, Sarah Dessen

"Annabel Greene, who narrates, lives with her gorgeous sisters in a glass house designed by their architect father, in Dessen's familiar suburb of Lakeview. Predictably, the surface perfection masks trouble. Oldest sister Kirsten, 'the family powder keg,' has left for New York. When middle sister Whitney follows to pursue a modeling career, the two clash, and Whitney returns home with a full-blown eating disorder. Their mother, Grace, operates in what Annabel wryly calls the 'default Greene family mode,' pretending everything is just fine. Annabel, who inherited this trait, nevertheless begins her junior year as a pariah. Flashbacks reveal that her unwanted status is the result of something that happened with the boyfriend of her ex-best friend, a vicious girl who believes 'everyone had a place and it was her job to make sure you knew yours.' What moves this story beyond problem novel fare is Dessen's nuanced characters, especially hulking Owen, another outcast who, in befriending Annabel, reminds her not to judge by appearances, while steeping her in his eclectic musical tastes. Annabel sharply observes everyone's blinders, including most of her own — with one disturbing exception. The heroine paints her problem as social ostracism, when really the situation is much more serious. But since Annabel '[doesn't] do confrontations,' she swallows the truth until her attacker victimizes someone else. Comparisons to Melinda, the heroine of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, are inevitable. Dessen packs a lot into this novel, perhaps too much; but Annabel and Owen's finely limned connection alone gives this novel staying power." - Publisher's Weekly

Nora read Speak a few weeks ago and after discussing it with her I remembered Just Listen. I read this last year and enjoyed it but as is usual felt is paled in comparison with Laurie Halse Anderson. What hit me the most on a second reading is how much I liked Owen. The scenes with Owen and his younger sister, Mallory, were really well done. I have a big stack of Sarah Dessen books from Costco that I need to dig into.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Nothing Like You, Lauren Strasnick

"You think he’s yours but he’s not, I thought. You think he’s yours but really he’s mine.”
When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.
But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had."

This book was painfully earnest. You could feel how much the author was trying to be deep and meaningful which usually doesn't work out so well. Or it might just be that most YA realistic fiction bothers me. I might have to blame Laurie Halse Anderson for that. All books in this genre are doomed if I read them within a several month window of time after reading one of Laurie's freakishly amazing books.

But I did feel for Holly as I read. There were some quite sad parts as she struggles to get through her senior year and cope with her mother's death. Mostly I wanted to shake her though and tell her to get a grip. Paul is a serious douche bag (see I'm keeping things classy in 2010, Nora!). That is all I need to say about him. Also who names their daughter Saskia? Isn't that asking for her future classmates to create Sasquatch themed jokes (which they don't do by the way)?

I might just be extra prone to irritation with low self-esteem girls and the jerks who use them after reading The Confessions of Noa Weber. I might also have left this book with a better feeling if I had gotten to have a worthwhile and satisfying happy ending.

I know that authors don't want to be seen as predictable or bourgeois and love to shake things up but this book was so tepid and afterschool-special-of-the-weekish it made the ending seem so much more pretentious to me. I get it if I am reading some hipster, self-reverential ("cause my cousin had leprosy and its not funny...") type book that the ending will be full of angst and despair and the nothingness of life and the importance of finding oneself through solitary living but in a ho-hum teen book about grief? Please. Holly needed to not only completely explain her sad little story to Nils but then they needed to be together. It was next door neighbor kismet. And Nils was portrayed as such a perfect, sensitive, caring friend who would always be there for Holly that it seemed out of character for him to abandon her when she was clearly suffering and being tormented by the entire school. I just don't believe that the Nils we met in the first half of the book would do that to Holly if he knew the entire story about Paul.

Now I need to go cleanse my palate with some Laurie Halse Anderson or at the very least some Sarah Dessen.

The Confessions of Noa Weber, Gail Hareven

"This award-winning novel of one woman's quest to understand her obsessive love for a mysterious man is by turns funny, self-mocking, and brutally honest.
Writer Noa Weber is a respected cultural figure with all the trappings of a successful "feminist" life- with a strong career, and a wonderful daughter she raised alone. Yet her interior life is inextricably bound by her love for one man- Alek.
Trying to free herself from this lifelong obsessive love, Noa turns her pen upon herself, and with relentless honesty dissects her own life. Against the evocative setting of turbulent, modern-day Israel, the examination becomes a quest to transform irrational desire into a greater, more transcendent understanding of love."

I was expecting to love this book. Or at least to like it. Obsessive love & modern Israel? How could I not be interested? I ordered the book after reading this excerpt which to my mind gives the idea that there might be a smidge of romance involved in the obsession. But there isn't one shred of romance between Noa and Alec.

The book is very well written and has some excellent passages but I could not get over how much I wanted to slap some sense into Noa. I know it is the modern, enlightened attitude to act like you have no natural feelings or affection for others and that no one should ask anyone else to live up to their responsibilities or, to heaven forbid, stop being so incredibly selfish for two minutes!

Alek is a horrible person and I was so conflicted between pitying Noa for her messed up feelings towards him and being angry with her. She made the choice to be with him with whatever small portion of himself he was willing to give her so it is hard to see her as a victim. But the descriptions of her pathetic pregnancy and abandonment were seriously brutal to read. I don't even begin to understand how she could still harbor such "love" for him at that point.


"When he turned away and went to his room, I, moved to the point of tears, thought of a poem by David Vogel we had studied for finals. "How can I see you, love,/Standing alone/ Amid storms of grief/ Without feeling my heart shake?" I returned again and again in those days to that poem, which continued: "Come,/ My hand will clasp your dreaming/ Hand,/ And I shall lead you down between the nights." But I was only his fictitious wife, married to him only by law and by the law of my love, and most of the time I stood "alond amid storms of grief" and his heart did not shake. And his hand did not clasp my hand to lead me between the nights." (p.125)

"The problem isn't that he's unworthy, but that it isn't worthy to love anyone the way I love him" (p.137)

"...suddenly I understood that in my foolishness I had seen my pregnancy with Hagar and the night of her birth as a kind of covenant between us." (p.139)

"There will never be a summer for us. Never in any summer will I walk with him along foreign streets, with their desperate squalor and their desperate splendor that I seem to know from some previous incarnation. And never will I experience again the consciousness of infinite expanses where everything seems pointless but love itself. Love will never expand me. The one right body will never come to me." (p.174)

"...she was offering me her biography on a steaming plate as well." (p.185)

For as much as this book aggravated me I really was impressed with the writing. Particularly the scenes when Alek finds out about Noa's pregnancy, Noa's imaginary interview (p.195), and Noa's feelings on never leaving the apartment, to name a few. As crazy as Noa's feelings for Alek are there is that grain of truth in them that resonantes with me (and all other recovered teenage girls- at least I'm hoping it's not just me.) I like how the NPR reviewer describes it:

"We may wish our ex-lovers would do the decent thing and move to Bolivia after the breakup, but then how to explain the nights we're up decoding their blogs to determine if they've forgotten us, or the very slow drives past their houses? Those who have indulged in such behavior might find themselves growing uncomfortable reading Gail Hareven's story of romantic obsession, The Confessions of Noa Weber."

2009 Reading List

Here is my 2009 OCD reading statistical report. I wrote this in the previous post but I really am feeling a mixture of horror and surprise at how much YA I read this year versus any other genre. I realize YA titles are almost always quicker & easier to zip through than more grownup fare which in turn pushes the numbers up but still... I am going to try to get 2010's YA percentage down to at least 49% of what I read. In 2009 I read 123 YA titles, a massive 65% of all my reading for the year.

= YA
Italics= Rereading
  • 188. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson
  • 187. Keturah and Lord Death, Martine Leavitt
  • 186. Prada & Prejudice, Mandy Hubbard
  • 185. The King of Attiola, Megan Whalen Turner
  • 184. The Queen of Attiola, Megan Whalen Turner
  • 183. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner
  • 183. The Dark Divine, Bree Despain
  • 182. Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
  • 181. Fallen, Lauren Kate
  • 180. How It Ends, Laura Wiess
  • 179. Lips Touch: Three Times, Laini Taylor
  • 178. Crush Du Jour, Micol Ostow
  • 177. Silent on the Moor, Deanna Raybourn
  • 176. Silent in the Sanctuary, Deanna Raybourn
  • 175. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
  • 174. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, Leanna Renee Hieber
  • 173. Silent in the Grave, Deanna Raybourn
  • 172. 30 Guys in 30 Days, Micol Ostow
  • 171. The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
  • 170. Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  • 169. Deadly Little Lies, Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • 168. Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
  • 167. Shadowland, Alyson Noel
  • 166. Bright Star: Love Letters & Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne
  • 165. Never Cry Werewolf, Heather Davis
  • 164. Soulless, Gail Carriger
  • 163. The Magicians, Lev Grossman
  • 162. Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr
  • 161. Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr
  • 160. The Professor's Daughter, Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert
  • 159. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, Allison Hoover Bartlett
  • 158. Prom Crashers, Erin Downing
  • 157. Something Borrowed, Catherine Hapka
  • 156. Remember Me?, Sophie Kinsella
  • 155. Scary Beautiful, Niki Burnham
  • 154. How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, Cameron Dokey
  • 153. The Household Guide to Dying, Debra Adelaide
  • 152. Borrower of the Night, Elizabeth Peters
  • 151. Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick
  • 150. Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
  • 149. Drive Me Crazy, Erin Downing
  • 148. Dark of the Moon, Rachel Hawthorne
  • 147. Give Up the Ghost, Megan Crewe
  • 146. Love Off-Limits, Whitney Lyles
  • 145. Devoured, Amanda Marrone
  • 144. Whip It, Shauna Cross
  • 143. The Ex Games, Jennifer Echols
  • 142. Leaving Paradise, Simone Elkeles
  • 141. Mediterranean Holiday, Kate Cann
  • 140. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
  • 139. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • 138. Rampant, Diana Peterfreund
  • 137. Crazy Beautiful, Lauren Baratz-Logted
  • 136. The Hate List, Jennifer Brown
  • 135. Blue Moon, Alyson Noel
  • 134. Evermore, Alyson Noel
  • 133. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
  • 132. What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell
  • 131. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan
  • 130. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
  • 129. Summer Blowout, Claire Cook
  • 128. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater
  • 127. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
  • 126. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
  • 125. Tap and Gown, Diana Peterfreund
  • 124. Rites of Spring (Break), Diana Peterfreund
  • 123. Under the Rose, Diana Peterfreund
  • 122. Secret Society Girl, Diana Peterfreund
  • 121. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
  • 120. The Dust of 100 Dogs, A.S. King
  • 119. Touch, Francine Prose
  • 118. Spires of Stone, Annette Lyon
  • 117. Word Gets Around, Lisa Wingate
  • 116. A Novel Idea, Aimee Friedman
  • 115. Go With Me, Castle Freeman Jr.
  • 114. A Dream to Call My Own, Tracie Peterson
  • 113. A Love to Last Forever, Tracie Peterson
  • 112. A Promise to Believe In, Tracie Peterson
  • 111. Work Hard. Be Nice., Jay Mathews
  • 110. Sleepless, Terri Clark
  • 109. Full Moon, Rachel Hawthorne
  • 108. The Actor and the Housewife, Shannon Hale
  • 107. A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist
  • 106. Sea Change, Aimee Friedman
  • 105. Handbags and Homicide, Dorothy Howell
  • 104. Fairy Tale, Cyn Balog
  • 103. Magic Study, Maria V. Snyder
  • 102. Poison Study, Maria V. Snyder
  • 101. The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan
  • 100. Columbine, Dave Cullen
  • 99. Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods & Madness Inside 56, Rafe Esquith
  • 98. The Flying Troutmans, Miriam Toews
  • 97. Deadly Little Secret, Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • 96. The Awakening, Kelley Armstrong
  • 95. The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong
  • 94. Improper English, Katie MacAlister
  • 93. Big Boned, Meg Cabot
  • 92. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either, Meg Cabot
  • 91. Size 12 Is Not Fat, Meg Cabot
  • 90. The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren, Wendy Toliver
  • 89. She Went All the Way, Meg Cabot
  • 88. Amelia and the Outlaw, Lorraine Heath
  • 87. Samantha and the Cowboy, Lorraine Heath
  • 86. Being Nikki, Meg Cabot
  • 85. Airhead, Meg Cabot
  • 84. The Mediator 1: Shadowland, Meg Cabot
  • 83. Moonlight, Rachel Hawthorne
  • 82. Lovesick, Jake Coburn
  • 81. The Boyfriend League, Rachel Hawthorne
  • 80. A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks
  • 79. Flat Belly Diet!, Liz Vaccariello
  • 78. Swoon, Nina Malkin
  • 77. The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall, L. J. Smith
  • 76. The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion, L. J. Smith
  • 75. The Vampire Diaries: The Fury, L. J. Smith
  • 74. The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle, L. J. Smith
  • 73. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening, L. J. Smith
  • 72. Waiting for You, Susane Colasanti
  • 71. Major Crush, Jennifer Echols
  • 70. Accidentally Dead, Dakota Cassidy
  • 69. The Boys Next Door, Jennifer Echols
  • 68. The Chosen One, Carol Lynch Williams
  • 67. When It Happens, Susane Colasanti
  • 66. Breathing, Cheryl Renee Herbsman
  • 65. If I Stay, Gayle Forman
  • 64. The Swan Maiden, Jules Watson
  • 63. The Accidental Werewolf, Dakota Cassidy
  • 62. The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han
  • 61. The Housekeeper and the Professor, Yoko Ogawa
  • 60. The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan
  • 59. Wings, Aprilynne Pike
  • 58. Impossible, Nancy Werlin
  • 57. A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
  • 56. Goldengrove, Francine Prose
  • 55. Love Undercover, Jo Edwards
  • 54. A Map of the Known World, Lisa Ann Sandell
  • 53. Prom, Laurie Halse Anderson
  • 52. Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies, Erin Dionne
  • 51. Dramarama, E. Lockhart
  • 50. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  • 49. North of Beautiful, Justina Chen Headley
  • 48. Going Too Far, Jennifer Echols
  • 47. Just Listen, Sarah Dessen
  • 46. Nutcase, Charlotte Hughes
  • 45. What Looks Like Crazy, Charlotte Hughes
  • 44. Graceling, Kristin Cashore
  • 43. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
  • 42. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, Deb Caletti
  • 41. Ten Cents a Dance, Christine Fletcher
  • 40. Tantalize, Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • 39. Sweethearts, Sara Zarr
  • 38. Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception: Maggie Stiefvater
  • 37. Wondrous Strange, Lesley Livingston
  • 36. Looking for Alaska, John Green
  • 35. Lady into Fox, David Garnett
  • 34. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
  • 33. Perfect Chemistry, Simone Elkeles
  • 32. Miss Hargreaves, Frank Baker
  • 31. City of Glass, Cassandra Clare
  • 30. Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
  • 29. City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare
  • 28. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
  • 27. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • 26. The Boy Book, E. Lockhart
  • 25. The Boyfriend List, E. Lockhart
  • 24. French Milk, Lucy Knisley
  • 23. The Travelling Horn Player, Barbara Trapido
  • 22. Need, Carrie Jones
  • 21. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Beth Fantaskey
  • 20. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • 19. Fade, Lisa McMann
  • 18. Wake, Lisa McMann
  • 17. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
  • 16. The Silver Kiss, Annette Curtis Klause
  • 15. The Dud Avocado, Elaine Dundy
  • 14. Story of a Girl, Sara Zarr
  • 13. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
  • 12. Inexcusable, Chris Lynch
  • 11. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
  • 10. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Gabrielle Zevin
  • 9. The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forrester
  • 8. Enthusiasm, Polly Shulman
  • 7. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
  • 6. Sunshine, Robin McKinley
  • 5. Imagined London, Anna Quindlen
  • 4. A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, Nicholas Drayson
  • 3. If I Have to Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's my Prince?, Melissa Kantor
  • 2. The Love Child, Edith Olivier
  • 1. The Host, Stephenie Meyer

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